Outdoor Burning Guidelines

Guidelines for Bonfires, Open Burning, Recreational Fires, Consumer Fireworks, Burn Restrictions and Burn Bans

Bonfires

A bonfire is an outdoor fire used for ceremonial purposes as outlined in the 2009 International Fire Code Section 307.4.1. All bonfires require a permit from the Division of the Fire Marshal. Permitted bonfires must be at least 50 feet away from a structure or combustible materials and must not at any point move any closer to the structure than the stated 50-foot distance.

  • Permit Application
    • Check the "open burning" box
    • Provide a site plan showing the bonfire location, materials and dimensions of the bonfire and the distances to surrounding objects.
    • Bring the completed permit application and site plan to the Division of the Fire Marshal for processing and to schedule the inspection.

Note: bonfire permits will not be issued during burn restrictions or burn bans.

Open Burning

Open burning is NOT allowed within the City of Colorado Springs. Examples of fires that are classified as open burning are ditch burning, fires used for silviculture (forestry purposes), range or wildlife management, and the prevention and or control of disease or pests.

Only city, county, state, and federal agencies with an approved Prescribed Burn Plan and Hazardous Activity Permit are allowed to conduct this type of activity.

Recreational Fires

Recreational fires are allowed within the City of Colorado Springs in accordance with the guidelines outlined below and in the absence of a burn restriction or burn ban. A recreational fire is an outdoor fire where materials other than rubbish are being burned and it is not contained in a permanent fixture (incinerator, outdoor fireplace, BBQ grill). The 2009 International Fire Code 302 defines these fires as being intended for cooking, warmth, religious, ceremonial, or other special purposes.  They must not have a total fuel area greater than 3 feet in diameter and must be less than 2 feet in height.

This type of fire must be at least 25 feet away from a structure or combustible materials and must not at any point move any closer to the structure than the stated 25-foot distance.

Fireplaces

Portable or fixed outdoor fireplaces (wood, propane or natural gas) must be at least 15 feet away from a structure or combustible materials except for 1-and 2-family dwellings. However, during a burn ban, ALL solid fuels (such as wood or charcoal) are prohibited.

Consumer Fireworks

All types of fireworks with a fuse and requiring a flame for ignition are ILLEGAL in Colorado Springs. Only novelty items (snappers and poppers) are allowed. A fire started by fireworks that threatens or damages property is a crime of arson. Possession, use, or the sale of fireworks is subject to a fine up to and including $2500 and or up to 189 days in jail. Professional public and private firework displays are regulated, permitted, and approved on a case-by-case basis by the Division of the Fire Marshal under city code 1.1.201- General Penalties.

6.6.204: Designation of Smoking Areas in City Parks and Open Spaces

All city park property is hereby declared to be a nonsmoking area unless the Manager of the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department designates areas on or in park property where smoking is not prohibited. In those cases, any designated smoking areas shall be clearly identified and receptacles for the disposal of used smoking materials shall be provided. (Ord. 13-46)

Enacting Burn Restrictions and Burn Bans

The Fire Marshal has the authority to enact a burn restriction or burn ban for the City of Colorado Springs. Criteria used to determine when these conditions are initiated include weather, fuel moistures, cooperator status, local and regional fire activity, and national preparedness levels (which influences suppression aircraft availability). These elements are closely monitored by the Wildfire Mitigation Administrator and Fire Marshal. When predetermined criteria are met, the appropriate condition is implemented. Immediate public notifications are made to the media through press releases and on the city website. The chart below outlines what is allowed during burn restrictions and burn bans:

Products Burn Restrictions Burn Ban
Blasting, Welding & Torches Yes, by permit ONLY Yes, by permit ONLY
Bonfires No No
Model Rockets Yes, by permit ONLY No
Open / Prescribed Burning No No
Outdoor Smoking

Smoking materials must be disposed of in a noncombustible container NO SMOKING IN ANY CITY PARKS / OPEN SPACES

Smoking materials must be disposed of in a noncombustible container. NO SMOKING IN ANY CITY PARKS / OPEN SPACES
Recreational Fires No No
Fireplaces (portable & fixed) Yes No (except for propane or natural gas)
Outdoor Cooking Yes No (except for propane or natural gas)

Burn Restriction and Burn Ban Penalties

Person(s) failing to comply with a burn restriction or burn ban shall be punished in accordance with the general penalty of the Code of the City of Colorado Springs as amended (1.1.201). A careless fire that threatens or damages property is fourth degree arson and shall be prosecuted as such.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can city residents burn leaves or trash outdoors? No, this is an illegal activity. Violations should be reported to the CSFD Division of the Fire Marshal at (719) 385-5978.
  2. Is burning trash in a fireplace allowed in the city? No, debris or trash burning is not allowed.